Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amplified Reactions

Anger is a natural emotion to perceived injustice, and most of us succumb to it from time to time and then get over it.  Unrestrained anger is another matter, for it often leads to rage which casts a wide shadow on its victims.  We see this in Pages in the Wind, when Emily is confronted with the mild anger of a trusted friend.

I recoiled, taken aback by his sudden outburst.  I felt myself welling up, and for good reason.  I was all too familiar with anger, and it was not my friend.  For me, anger too often bled into rage, and then violence.  My learned instinct was to duck.

The heroine's reaction is a learned response based on a history of violence.  She has a hard time distinguishing between anger and rage, and has no coping skills other than to run.  As the story progresses, this amplified response leaves her vulnerable as she struggles to find coping skills that will protect her adult relationships.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Competing Forces of Desire and Reality

It's never easy to face the reality of something we don't want to believe.  Why? Because it hurts.  It's that simple - it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts for awhile, and sometimes it hurts for a lifetime.  As I near the final chapters of Pages in the Wind, Emily is faced with an ugly reality as she graduates from high school and plans to leave her past behind for a new life in a new place.  She is hopelessly conflicted, and the conflict lies between her desire and her reality:

Step by step, I just kept walking in the direction of the cafeteria.  I knew that my thoughts were jumbled, remnants of this and remnants of that - thoughts strung together like some haphazard quilt.   Desire and reality were competing for my attention.  My desire was to stay here, to live out the fantasy of belonging to a happy family but reality was also here - walking in the direction of the cafeteria.  I knew that I just needed to keep walking without stopping - just keep putting one foot in front of the other in the direction of Robert and his plan to leave.  I knew that if I stopped walking, I would run in the other direction.  I would run in the direction of my desire, and the ugly truth is that my desire was nothing more than a made-up fantasy that would never, ever happen.  

Her choice will ultimately change the course of her life.  The competing power of desire and reality end up colliding - and what happens will be a turning point in her life and one that she could not have anticipated.